Eliseo Meifrén

(1859 - 1940)

A painter of international renown, Meifrén exhibited throughout Europe and the Americas. Born in Barcelona, Eliseo Meifrén had anticipated a career in Medicine before giving up his studies and turning to painting, enrolling at the Escola de la Llotja, a School of Art and Design in Barcelona. Following his studies, Meifrén was awarded a Gold Medal at a Valencia Regional exhibition, a testament to his precocious talent and at the age of nineteen travelled to Paris, followed by a period in Italy before returning to Spain in 1881, Exhibiting at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts. In 1882, Meifrén married Dolores Pajarin and settled in Paris but they travelled widely frequently returning to Barcelona, where in 1888 he sat on the jury for the Barcelona World Exhibition. The year 1889 saw the artist exhibit at the Paris World Exhibition and the same year show sixty oil paintings at the Sala Parés in Barcelona, the following year showing forty landscape paintings based on his travels in Spain, France and Italy. In 1892, Meifrén and his wife returned to Paris where he worked, ‘en plein air’ and became closely associated with the Impressionists. In 1897, he was invited by the Director of the Gabinete Literario to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, while continuing to exhibit widely, including the award of a Gold Medal at the Paris World Exhibition of 1900, and a Silver Medal at the subsequent Brussels Exhibition. In 1903, Meifrén and his wife moved to Buenos Aires where he held a successful exhibition of his own paintings and the following year held an exhibition of Catalan Painters, which included a number of works by Picasso. 1905 saw Meifrén move to Mallorca where he had been offered the post of Director at the Escola d’Arts i Oficis de Palma. However, he continued to travel extensively and in 1915 travelled to the USA, exhibiting at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition that year and winning the Medal of Honour in San Francisco, followed by the Grand prize in San Diego in 1916. Meifrén settled in New York briefly, exhibiting paintings of Mallorca and Cadaqués, where he had spent his childhood and in 1917 returned to Barcelona. In 1930, Meifrén remarried, his first wife having died in 1924 and some years later at the outbreak of the Civil War he fled to Manresa in Catalonia living as a refugee until his return to Barcelona in 1939, where in December he held his final exhibition at the Sala Gaspar. Meifrén died in February the following year. His works can be found in museums in: Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery; Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado; Las Palmas, Mallorca and Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.